AFP: The incoming United Nations secretary-general Tuesday played down hopes of an early end to the crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme. SEOUL, Oct 24, 2006 (AFP) – The incoming United Nations secretary-general Tuesday played down hopes of an early end to the crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme.
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon, who takes over on January 1, described the issue as another threat to the global non-proliferation regime along with North Korea’s October 9 nuclear weapons test.
“Tehran has not so far responded to the Security Council demand that it suspend all enrichment-related activities, and the road to a peaceful resolution on this issue seems tortuous,” he said in a speech marking the 61st anniversary of the UN.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Monday his country will not retreat even “an inch” over its nuclear programme despite the mounting threat of UN sanctions.
His comments came as Britain, France and Germany draw up a draft sanctions resolution to put to the Security Council after Iran refused to obey repeated deadlines to suspend uranium enrichment.
Western countries fear it is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons, but the Islamic republic insists its programme is solely for generating energy.
Ban described the situation on global peace and security — one of the UN’s three pillars along with development and human rights — as “precarious indeed.”
Efforts for a comprehensive treaty to fight terrorism had so far failed. The security and humanitarian crisis in the Sudanese region of Darfur, the flare-ups in the Middle East and conflicts in Africa also called for concerted responses, Ban said.
As secretary-general, he said, he intends to seek an active role in finding a peaceful settlement of the North Korean nuclear issue.